On the difficulty of Chinese

An intriguing example of the difficulty of Chinese pronunciation even for the Chinese. In the white rectangle marked on this Ming dynasty stele from Tongchuan there is one large character, 观, in pinyin guan, but written with an ancient and difficult character that a reader of this stele might not be able to pronounce. 

So beneath are two smaller characters: on the left a simpler character for guan, 官, with beside another character meaning “pronounce”, 音, which indicates that 官 is an aide to pronouncing and understanding the more complex character above.

In other words, a scholarly footnote.